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Fri, Feb 23, 2001 - Page 3 News List

DPP tries to calm demonstrators

By Chiu Yu-Tzu  /  STAFF REPORTER

DPP officials are working hard to mollify anti-nuclear activists ahead of a demonstration against nuclear power to be held tomorrow in central Taipei.

Yesterday Premier Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) paid a visit to an exhibition of photographs, organized by anti-nuclear activists, of the aftermath of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

Meanwhile, DPP headquarters is considering how to deal with the growing voices of opposition to the party's involvement in the 224 Anti-nuclear Demonstration (二二四反核大遊行) to be held tomorrow.

Since Chang agreed with the Legislative Yuan's demand that it resume construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant (核四), activists have condemned President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and the DPP for their inconsistency on the issue.

During Chang's visit to the exhibition, he tried to explain the government's decision to resume construction of the plant.

"We still have to make more effort to build a nuclear-free country," Chang said.

"The reality of the political situation might have prevented us from approaching the short-term goal," Chang said, "but we will still stick to our goal of ultimately building a nuclear-free country."

At the protest tomorrow activists plan to encourage DPP supporters to exchange A-bian (阿扁) campaign caps for T-shirts with slogans saying "Referendum on the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant" (核四公投) and "The People Decide" (人民作主).

The exchange is aimed at encouraging anti-nuclear DPP supporters to abandon their hero-worship of the president.

Afraid that the demonstration may turn into a mass movement against Chen, DPP chapters have mobilized party members nationwide to join the demonstration, under the guise of supporting the referendum law.

Party members may also help to counterbalance those demonstrators who wish to protest the performance of the government.

According to activists, the DPP has been involved with preparations for the demonstration, taking part in strategy meetings held by the event's organizers.

The DPP's involvement, however, has irritated anti-nuclear students.

A group of about 50 students from several different universities is scheduled to burn the DPP party flag in front of the party's national headquarters today to express their disappointment.

"We don't think that the DPP, a party that has betrayed its own party platform against nuclear energy, is qualified to join the 224 Anti-nuclear Demonstration," Chu Wei-li (朱維立), spokesperson for the students, said yesterday.

Lee said that most students had once looked forward to the prospect of the DPP governing the country, but they had been disappointed by the party's failure to halt the fourth nuclear plant.

Lee Wen-ying (李文英) of the DPP's department of social development said yesterday that the students seemed to have lost their bearings.

"They should be targeting the opposition parties rather than the DPP. We are still sticking to our anti-nuclear platform and we are calling for a referendum on the nuclear issue," Lee said.

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